The first piece of jewellery I bought as a young girl was an orange cameo depicting a young woman. I was in Romeon an 'outing' with some of my comrades from the Art School of Ravenna and it was almost twenty years ago, but I was so fascinated by it that I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was not particularly beautiful or valuable, but that cameo exerted a unique fascination on me. That is why when I first saw the GrandTour Collection I immediately fell in love with the quality of materials and workmanship combined with fresh design to suit any age and any style. I have read the history of the Borrazzi d'Eramo family, Roman craftsmen and antiquarians who for three generations have brought art to the world from their gallery in Via dei Coronari, in the historic centre of the Eternal City.

Via dei Coronari, what could have been a more perfect place to create this collection? Imagine pilgrims on their way to St. Peter's buying precious here wreaths of roses as they pass by the house that Pope Sixtus VI gave - along with a vineyard in the Vatican belvedere - to Fiammetta Michaelis, a courtesan and mistress of Cesare Borgia. Imagine its glimpses in films that have made the history of Italian cinema - the director Michelangelo Antonioni comes to mind -, the rustication of the palace of the Viterbo princes Del Drago, the numerous junk shops later transformed into splendid antique shopsdisappeared one after the other by virtue of the hegemony of Ikea and 'disposable' furniture, actually more disposable than disposable. Imagine a shop capable of withstanding the passing of generations, where the passage of time was seen as an opportunity to renew, to grow, to be, to cherish.

grand tour collection via dei coronari

Have you ever heard someone say to you 'I leave for the Grand Tour"? There was a time when aristocrats went on a journey that was considered more of a mission than just tourism. The objective of the Grand Tour was get to know. Learn about history, art, politics by studying the language, buying works of art, visiting ruins and enjoying the local 'dolce vita'.. Favourite destinations? Obviously Italy and France. The most important stages were Venice, Rome, Naples and Taormina. One got 'lost' from Palladian villas to Roman ruins, from Neoclassical Neapolitan to Sicilian Baroque. Sicily then offered the possibility of studying Greek art without travelling further... and at the time there were no planes or low-cost airlines. Even today, Italy is one of the most popular destinations for everyone except Italians. I am so proud to be Italian that when I hear someone say 'we live in a shitty country and I would like to leave' my heart cries. I will never leave Italy. I could divide myself between France and Italy, that's for sure. I love France as if it were my own country. And Italy? Italy is imperfect, but who isn't? Italy is genius and madness and that is enough for me.

One of the highlights of the Grand Tour was having a portrait taken by an important painter and engraver of the time as Canaletto. It comes naturally to me that having a portrait done on an object as small as a cameo was much more convenient than having a larger canvas. Likewise - when buying works of art was not possible – a cameo depicting them was the perfect souvenir!

grandtour collection via dei coronari

The first piece of jewellery I chose was the bracelet from the Square line depicting a large square cameo with Cupid and Psyche in bluemy parents' favourite. Cupid and Psyche is a fable by Apuleius that tells the love story between the god Cupid and the princess Psyche. The goddess Venus, jealous of Psyche's incredible beauty, asked her son, the beautiful god of love Cupid to shoot an arrow at her and make her fall in love with the ugliest man on earth. He agreed, but when he saw her he was so enchanted by her beauty that one of her arrows hit him and made him fall madly in love with Psyche. The young god went to the young maiden every night, secretly from his mother, and consumed nights of great passion. The saying 'curiosity is woman' comes from this fable because Psyche twice risked losing her beloved because of her curiosity. However, after passing a series of trials and failing the last one, Love managed to have Psyche transformed into a goddess and marry her. From their union a beautiful child was born. Since my mother experienced such a great love with my recently deceased (also a little bit opposed) father, I decided to give her this bracelet with the hope that, every time her eyes rest on this beautiful cameo, she will remember the love she experienced and its fruit: me (if you want to read the fable of Cupid and Psyche I recommend this book on Amazon).

I find this bracelet perfect for my mother, a beautiful Art History enthusiast who looks much younger and has a young and dynamic look. In person it is even more beautiful and I can't wait for it to acquire that patina over time that makes it even more precious. In general, the Square Line is very elegant and important, perfect to enhance any outfit. There are 4 subjects you can choose from: the Capitoline she-wolf, Phaeton, Pliny's doves and, of course, Cupid and Psyche. The leather bracelet can be black, blue, or white... I really like blue for its versatility.

GrandTour Collection is the 2.0 version of those cultured souvenirs that the rich of Europe used to bring from Italy depicting the most beautiful works of art of neoclassicism kept in Rome. Roberto and Michela Borrazzi have innovated the cameo by choosing materials - valuable but accessible - and unpublished such as plexiglass and modern resins created exclusively for them, and ancient such as gold and bronze using the lost-wax casting technique.  The use of colourfrom classic to strong colours, made their jewellery contemporary. For today's cultured travellers who want to take a corner of Rome with them, or for those who dream of going to Rome and cultivate their dream by admiring and carrying a GrandTour jewel.

I chose for me the filodoro bracelet depicting Dionysus, the god of ecstasy, fertility, wine, intoxication and liberation of the senses. Dionysus is the essence of creation in its perennial and wild flow, the divine spirit of a boundless reality, the primordial element of the cosmos, the frenetic current of life that pervades everything. I recognise myself so much in the figure of Dionysus and not only because of his connection with wine, but because of his wandering nature that encompasses joy and anger, failure and success, until the final goal - immortality - and the return home finally redeemed. Of Dionysus, I also share the instinct, the strong sense of justice that can sometimes blind like a useless thirst for revenge. The depiction is a head of a young Dionysus wearing an ivy crown, preserved in the Capitoline Museums.

grandtour collection filodoro bracelet

I decided to match it with some gorgeous earrings Hore Amothe piece I really fell in love with. Simple and elegant, they depict Dionysus and Bacchante. Maenads, Thiads or Bacchae are the names of the priestesses of Bacchus who celebrated the god by singing, dancing and wandering through mountains and forests waving the tirso, a pike enveloped by ivy especially at the top. More properly, Maenads are the mythological figures who were followers of the god, while Bacchae are the human women who worshipped him. In classical mythology, they are the object of desire of satyrs.

grandtour collection jewellery cameos earrings

The beauty of the Hore Amo earrings is that they are completely customisable! This simple and refined model, very light and therefore wearable all day long even by a winelover with sensitive lobes like mine, illuminates and embellishes my face. You can choose from so many mythological subjects and from no less than 14 colours, impossible to resist! 😍 Then there are many other collections to discover on the website ❤️

chiara bassi grandtour collection earrings

On this dark day, when Italy is about to close again, a gift to bring is even more precious because it makes us feel closer. If we are close we are distant and if we are far we can only hear or see each other beyond a screen. But we can donate or give ourselves something precious, made in Italy, that tells a storya memory or simply represent our affection. I live in Lombardy, a red zone again in total lockdown because of the Coronavirus, and my mother lives in Romagna. We certainly won't be able to see each other until at least 3 December, but the idea of knowing that she's wearing this bracelet I gave her last Sunday fills my heart.

love and psyche fable

Dionysus, Bacchante, Amor and Psyche (David's splendid painting above), Minerva, Hercules and the Bull, Cupid, Medusa, Pegasus, Minerva... there are so many myths and so many stories, fables, vicissitudes to choose from. And then there is Rome and the Capitoline she-wolf because - although raped over the years - the eternal city will always be the most beautiful in the world. A postcard from Rome, a small souvenir of a trip made or dreamt of, a handicraft excellence to wear. A jewel capable of telling the story of the giver and the receiver.

And the will for everything to end so that we can move without worries, travel, learn. I am looking forward to rediscovering the true joy of going on a new Grand Tour with my husband Francesco. We will drive across Italy to Taormina, like two young people in the 19th century. We will walk through enchanted streets, taste dishes and wines that will steal our emotions, kisses and smiles. On the way back we will stop in Rome, in Via dei Coronari, and choose two identical bracelets GrandTour Easy Hore line with the seller of pearl-coloured cupids and blue rubber for him and burgundy for me. And then we will wear them every day, to remind us of our beautiful journey where we grew as a couple and got to know so many new things about the land where we were lucky enough to be born.

Cheers 🍷


GrandTour Collection | Via dei Coronari, 32 - 00186 Rome |

la montina estates tasting franciacorta 1.

P.S. For this cover photo I chose as the model for the bracelet the beautiful bottle of Franciacorta Satén La Montina that I am going to uncork this Sunday for our 2 month wedding anniversary. This winery is perfect because it owes its name to Giovanni Battista Montini, later to become Paul VI, a Pope sometimes criticised and sometimes forgotten to whom we owe the Church's first dialogue with modernity. Of Brescian origin, his ancestor Benedetto Montini - owner of the manor house - originated the place-name Montina on which today stands the Franciacorta company that owns the Bozza Family.

If you want to learn more about this wonderful Franciacorta company, I invite you to read these articles:

Book "Sommelier: the Illustrated Manual" Special Edition 2024

All my notes on wine and food in one book.

(393 customer reviews)

 38,00 VAT included!

In stock (can be backordered)

error: This content is copyright ©Chiara Bassi